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USA: RKO Pictures
Cast: Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne, Sylvester Stallone, Thandie Newton, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith, Michael Dorn, Hal Holbrook, Dina Merrill, Bo Hopkins, Patrick Bauchau, B-Real, Roger G Smith, Charles Rocket, Mark Boone Junior, Jason Cerbone, Jack Conley, Frank Medrano, Tony Burton, Rodney Rowland, Tony Amendola, Bret Anthony, George Tovar, R P Wilson, Stacie Bourgeois, Kevin Burchett, Jennifer Burgess-Keene, Angela Fratto, Holly Catarancuic, Brian Gillis, Adam Grace, Michael Harney, Adrianne Incarnate, Shawn Frances Lee, Earl Nelson, Joe Nicolo, David Purdham, Tom Reynolds, Andrea C Robinson, Chris Rommelmann
Director: Damian Nieman
USA Rated: R for language, violence and sexuality/nudity. Previously rated: R in 2003.
USA Release Date: 9 April 2004 (Limited Release - Los Angeles)
USA Release Date: 26 March 2004 (Limited Release)
In the shady atmosphere of an underground gambling club, LA's card sharks come out to play. Deception and trickery is the only rule in a game where nothing is as it seems and everyone has a poker face. The hustlers get hustled, and a fortune rests on every deal.
In the magic hour on a desert highway, a black speedster races towards the shimmering lights of the City of Angels. The driver's hand effortlessly holds and cuts a deck of cards over and over, a magician performing his tricks. This is Vernon (Stuart Townsend) - the card mechanic.
Vernon's old flame Tiffany (Thandie Newton) is the kind of woman who will cut out a man's heart if it will earn her a fast buck. Her fellow conman-in-crime Charlie Miller (Gabriel Byrne) shoots for any deal that has a payout, be it a petty hustle or a sophisticated scam.
This is a hard-edged crew with a common goal: to beat the ultimate card mechanic - Stevens aka The Dean (Sylvester Stallone) - a man for whom players will drop their entire bankroll, just to say that they have taken a seat at his table. But The Dean's table doesn't come cheap. Vernon needs a hundred grand to buy his way in, small change to the high rollers that play in this hand. His particular line of credit comes in the form of a poker game and a greedy card player named Larry Jennings (Jamie Foxx).
However, in the illusory world of underground gaming, nothing is as it seems. Although clever with the cards, Jennings is foolish enough to play with someone else's cash. Suddenly the crew is being pursued by dangerous thugs and a vengeful gangster.
To further complicate matters, Tiffany and Miller have personal agendas of their own. Miller is planning a future with Tiffany, but she still carries a torch for Vernon and has her own ideas for pushing Miller swiftly out of the picture.
Is the loser actually the loser, or is it just another manoeuvre in the mechanic's master scam?